Short and Sweet

An overview of Russian desserts across different times and regions

Confectionery (21st Century) by tm agencyFederal Agency for Tourism

Confectionery

Historically, rye, wheat, barley, oats, millet have been grown in Russia. Local people mastered the technique of making flour earlier than many peoples of Europe and Asia.

That is why an abundance of baked dishes and confectionery is characteristic of Russian cuisine: all kinds of pies, kulebyak, donuts, rolls, loaves, pies, pancakes. Tea is often accompanied by pastries and sweets.

ptichka 1 far east by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Ptichye Moloko

Vladivostok is the birthplace of the famous Russian "Ptichye Moloko" whisked cream cake. The recipe was invented in 1967 by confectioner Anna Chulkova who received the highest Lenin award for her achievement at the time.

Confectionery (21st Century) by tm agencyFederal Agency for Tourism

The Vladivostok Confectionery pioneered the production technology resulting in the fact that even today, Primorsky Konditer’s “Ptichka'' cake remains a favourite local treat rivalling seaweed chocolate, the other prominent sweet from Sakhalin and Primorye.

Pancakes for Maslenitsa (21st Century) by tm agencyFederal Agency for Tourism

Bliny

A blini (sometimes spelled bliny) is a Russian and Ukrainian pancake traditionally made out of wheat or buckwheat flour. Bliny are served with smetana, tvorog, butter, caviar or other garnishes.

Confectionery (21st Century) by tm agencyFederal Agency for Tourism

Pancake (21st Century) by tm agencyFederal Agency for Tourism

They are made and eaten fast. A myriad of additions include jam, sour cream, herring or other salty fish, all manner of caviar, hard boiled eggs with onions, and honey. Bliny pancakes are made and eaten fast.

Pancakes with caviar (21st Century) by tm agencyFederal Agency for Tourism

Blini are among the most popular and most-eaten dishes in Russia. 

Shanga by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Shanga

The name 'shanga' entered Russian language most probably from Komi language. It is very popular in the Russian fairy-tails and folk epos. Shanga is widespread from Karelia to Ob. 

Shangi (21st Century) by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Today shanga is a cheese cake with porridge, with crushed potatoes or with cottage cheese, with sour cream on the top.

Syrniki by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Syrniki

These small, sweet pancakes made from tvorog (quark, or farmer’s cheese) with very little flour, sometimes also called tvorozhniki. Italian-style Moscow syrniki made with ricotta are also very popular. The capital’s foodies also love Severyane’s signature take on syrniki – tvorog syrniki made with baked milk.

Urbech by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Urbech

Yet another answer to the question “why do people who live in the mountains live a hundred years?” is sticky pasta made from roasted or dried flax seeds (or ground apricot stones with nuts), ground with a millstone.

Pyanse (21st Century) by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Pyanse

Pyanse or pigodi is a Russo-Korean steamed pie, bun, or dumpling stuffed with cabbage and meat. It is a popular dish in Russian Far East, as well as in Koryo-saram communities of Central Asia.

Ossetian Pie by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Ossetian Pie

Flat round (and sometimes triangular) closed pies with a thin layer of dough and a solid layer of filling are loved throughout Russia.

In the homeland of the dish, the name of the pie changes depending on the filling, for example, a pie with minced meat is called fiddzhin, and with wild garlic leaves and dawongin cheese.

Ossetian pie by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

The filling can be anything from cabbage or beet tops to pumpkins and cherries.

Historically, the dough was bland, mixed with water; now it is often prepared with milk, kefir or eggs. Incidentally, Ossetian pies are an irreplaceable element of the national ritual called “Three Pies.” 

Kissel (21st Century) by tm agencyFederal Agency for Tourism

Kissel

Kissel banks with rowanberry and cinnamon. It is a viscous fruit dish, popular as a dessert or a drink.

It consists of the sweetened juice of berries, thickened with cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot. Sometimes red wine or fresh or dried fruits are added.

Kozuli by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Kozuli

Kozuli is, basically, Russian Christmas Gingerbread. Traditionally, they are prepared only during Christmas time. Originally kozuli are a symbol of fertility, fulfilment, prosperity and a symbol of good hunting.

Kozuli by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Due to this they were often made in the form of domestic animals: goats, cows, horses or reindeers. Kozuli were neither eaten, nor thrown out immediately.

Black caviar on bread by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Napoleon Cake

One of classic Russian cakes. It is made of thin and flaky puff pastry layers and a smooth and luscious pastry cream in between them. It was invented in 1912 in order to celebrate the centenary of Russia’s victory over the Napoleonic army. During the Soviet era, the cake became a real icon of any celebration.

Factory Honey traditions 3 by Medovye Traditsii FactoryFederal Agency for Tourism

Pryaniki / Russian Gingerbread

It is customary in Russia to gift pryaniki stamped with wooden imprints, serve them at tea or buy them as souvenirs in places that are famous for their gingerbreads. As the Russian name “pryanik” suggests, the dough has a lot of spice and is usually based on honey.

Gingerbread and samovar 1 by Medovye Traditsii FactoryFederal Agency for Tourism

Contemporary fillings include diverse jams and condensed milk.

The most famous pryaniki are from Tula, a city not far from Moscow, where they have been baked since the 17th century, a history tracked by the local Pryanik Museum.

Medovik (21st Century) by tm agencyFederal Agency for Tourism

Medovik

Medovik is apparently a simple honey cake, but there is one trick to it that eludes so many. Even with so many layers, it has to feel like a whole and melt in your mouth. This is what distinguishes Russia's medovik from other honey-made desserts popular in other countries.

It has its own origin legend, related to Alexander I's wife Yelizaveta Alexeyevna. She didn't like honey, and everyone at the court knew that. Everyone but the newly appointed chef who, in his ignorance, made a honey cake. 

Yelizaveta Alexeyevna enjoyed the cake and asked the chef for its recipe. He had already been told what an abysmal mistake he had committed, and it took a lot of convincing before he shared his secret. Yelizaveta Alexeyevna laughed and had the medovik cake included on tsar’s court menu.

Echpochmak by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Echpochmak

Tatar and Baskhir pastry recipes are an exercise in skill for novice cooks, a regular on the menu in fast food chains, and a staple for weekdays and holidays.

Also popular are triangular buns made with yeast or unleavened dough and stuffed with meat and mashed potatoes. These are called echpochmak or uchpochmak in Bashkir. he region's chief dessert treat is the sweet chak-chak with bits of dough fried in oil and glued together with honey syrup.

Сhak-chak by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Chak-chak

The region's chief dessert treat is the sweet chak-chak with bits of dough fried in oil and glued together with honey syrup.

Kartoshka Cake by Proximity RussiaFederal Agency for Tourism

Kartoshka cake

This cake was invented as a way to use up leftover cake scraps at confectioneries and was named for its appearance. Kartoshka (potato) cake was a brown oblong cake made from sweet biscuit crumbs with cream, condensed milk, and chocolate, decorated with ‘shoots’ made out of cream.

By the end of the Soviet period, kartoshka was being made with biscuits and margarine and was not healthy at all.

Credits: Story

Сhief Сonsultant — Ekaterina Drozdova, restaurateur, gastronomic entrepreneur, food and social activist, Photo production — tm agency, Contributors — Proximity Russia, Denis Yershov, Alexandra Grigoryeva

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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